Vijay Amritraj interviews Deepika Padukone for Star Sports, just before the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Vijay: What are your feelings about the Nadal-Schuettler match?
Deepika: Obviously Nadal is the favourite, but it’s great to see this new guy doing well despite being unseeded.
Note: “new guy” is 32-year-old tour veteran Rainer Schuettler, a one-time world number 5 and Australian Open finalist, experiencing one of those late-career purple patches.
Anyway. Exactly two years ago, in a post just before the 2006 Wimbledon final, I mentioned this bit of trivia: when Federer and Nadal contested both the French Open and Wimbledon finals in the same year, it marked the first time the same two players had managed the feat since 1952. Well, what do you know: Roger and Rafa enjoy each other’s company so much that they are doing the “Channel Slam” together for the third straight year now! That really is an incredible statistic, and fans of both players should stop the bickering – at least temporarily – to appreciate how lucky they are that these two champions are around at the same time: their great rivalry fuelled by the fact that each of them has something that the other badly wants (the French Open for Federer, Wimby and the number 1 spot for Nadal), and at the same time marked by an old-world courtliness and mutual respect that is scarcely believable for anyone who remembers the Borg-McEnroe (or even Sampras-Agassi) days.
I’d love to see Rafa win on Sunday, but one has to be pragmatic about these things. Roger – by far the greatest grass-courter around – is still at least a 60 per cent favourite for the title, and I suspect Rafa has overworked himself this season, having played (and won) many more matches than anyone else on the ATP tour; those knees still look dodgy too. Either way, I hope it isn’t a blowout, since matches billed in advance as “classics” so often turn out to be anti-climactic.
[Earlier post on the undying love of Roger and Rafa here]